THE INFANCY NARRATIVES: ANNUNCIATIONS Stage one of Christian preaching • A proclamation about the action of God in the Easter events. (We se this in Paul’s letters) • With further reflection, the story was enlarged to show that God in fact was acting, breaking into the world, not just in the death/resurrection event but right through the ministry of Jesus. Stage 2 • Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus being called God’s Son from the moment of his Baptism. As an adult Jesus appears in the wilderness, the Spirit comes upon him and he moves into his ministry. Stage 3 • Two gospels, Luke and Matthew, introduce Jesus by taking his origins and divine status back before his ministry to his conception and birth. It is essential that we understand these as theological introductions to the ministry of Jesus and not see them as history in our sense. Both Luke and Matthew draw on the Old Testament to find images and quotations that support their theology that Jesus is of God, and from the moment of his conception he is filled with the Spirit. • Stage 3. Matthew & Luke. The infancy stories naming Jesus as God’s Son from birth. Stage 4 • Finally, John’s gospel proclaims that Jesus’ origins go back even prior to his conception and birth, back to the very beginning, whenever that was John states that the Word who was incarnate in Jesus was with God from eternity. Schema • Pre- existent Word. Son from birth. At Baptism Designated Son in resurrection • John ----------------- Matt & Luke -----------Mark ------------Paul Rom 1:4 • 90-100 CE 80-90 CE. 65-70 CE. 50-65 CE. • This schema places the infancy narrative within the developing Christology of the early Christian communities. Birth of Jesus - historical • According to Roman and Jewish historians there is no doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was an historical person. • We do not have exact information about – The date of his birth – The year of his birth Date of Birth • 274 Roman Emperor Aurelian has a temple dedicated to Sol Invictus on the supposed day of the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and day of rebirth of the Sun • 313 Emperor Constantine decreed Christianity a legitimate Religion in the Roman Empire (Edict of Toleration). Date of Birth Constantine transferred many pagan customs, celebrations, buildings into Christian. • In AD 354, Philocalus wrote a Christian martyrology that dates the nativity of Jesus Christ on December 25, and cites an earlier work as backup. Luke’s Clues • Shepherds were in the fields at night. • Time of year – after the harvest • - before Winter • Therefore late Autumn (October/November) • No space (topos) in the katalyma (where one lays down) for the night. • First century homes had Year of Birth • “In those days an edict was issued by Caesar Augustus ordering the whole world to be registered. This took place whiloe Quirinius was governor of Syria” • Augustus was Emperor from 29 BCE – 14 CE. • Publius Sulpicius Quirinius ruled in Syria 6-7 CE • It seems Luke recalls Jesus’ birth during the time of Herod in agreement with Matthew, but has mistakenly linked this to the later event when Judea was taken over by direct control by Rome in 6 CE. • Year of birth therefore before 4 CE when Herod died. • “In the days of Herod” (Luke 1:5) • ie. Between the years 37 BCE and 4 BCE when Herod died. Matthew and Luke in Common • Jesus’ birth in the reign of Herod • Mary is a virgin, engaged to Joseph; • they have not come to live together • Joseph is of the house of David • An angel announces the birth • He is conceived by power of the Holy Spirit Matthew and Luke in Common • Joseph is not involved in the conception • The name ‘Jesus’ is given prior to his birth • An angel identifies him as ‘savior’ • Jesus is born after Mary & Joseph come together • Jesus is born in Bethlehem • Jesus settles with Mary & Joseph in Nazareth, Galilee Differences • MATTHEW • LUKE • Genealogy • “Historical” introduction • Magi with gifts • Two annunciations • A star in the East, Emphasis • Two births on Joseph and his dreams • Emphasis on Mary • Events happen to fulfil the • The angel Gabriel Prophets scriptures Anna, Simeon • A wicked king Herod • Temple • Slaying of baby boys • Jesus with the elders • A tone of threat • A tone of joy • Egypt • Census • - midrashic style of Jewish • - apocalyptic style of Daniel - Rabbi Luke’s interest in History A common tradition. • While the theological reflection has led to different images and emphases, a common core tradition lies underneath this theological reflection. • The historical time of Jesus’ birth. • The miraculous nature of the birth. • Davidic descendant. • Angelic announcement. • Birthplace is Bethlehem • Lives in Nazareth • Parents’ names. A theological introduction • to the identity and mission of Jesus. • There are many characters Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Angels, Simeon, Anna. • cast against a background of world powers - Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, and Herod. • This birth is no myth. It is grounded in history and prepared for within the long history of Israel. Structure of Luke 1: 5-25 Annunciation John • 26-38 Annunciation Jesus 39-56 MEETING OF THE MOTHERS OT RECOGNISES THE NEW. 57-80 Birth & circumcision John 2:1 –21 Birth & circumcision Jesus PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE O.T RECOGNISES THE NEW 2:41-52 Bridge to Public ministry: Jesus imbibing and being nurtured by the wisdom of Israel. The Promises are fulfilled • The story of John introduces the story of Jesus. • The narrative highlights John’s special role but an even greater role is given to Jesus. • This may have its history in the confusion or even rivalry between disciples of John and Jesus. Who was the more important? • After each main event - announcement and birth - there is a scene where characters representative of Israel’s traditions, recognize Jesus is blessed by God. • Luke’s theology that the time of Israel, the time of O.T. promise is finished as now those promises are being fulfilled. Literary Forms What type of writing is this called? Is it true? • Robinson. Murray and Kylie are pleased to announce the arrival of Mackinley Reece (7 lbs) – our first child. Mother and baby well. Thanks to staff at Knox Hospital. O.T. Announcement Story Pattern. • Appearance of an angel (or the Lord) • Response of fear or awe • Divine message - person addressed by name qualifying phrase describing the person person urged not to fear woman is to have a child child is to have a special name meaning of name the future accomplishments of the child • Person objects or raises a problem, or doubt • A sign of reassurance. • These elements are not always found in each story or in this order but most are found in biblical announcement stories. Announcement of Ishma’el • Gen. 16:7 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name lsh’mael; because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” Announcement of Samson • Judg. 13:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore beware, and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for Io, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband [Manoah]… Theological Introductions • Note in these stories the theme of the barren wife. The apparent childless state emphasizes that this is a special birth; the child is born through the power of God and is to have a role in God’s plan of salvation. • Luke draws on a number of O.T. stories in portraying the two announcements to Zechariah and Mary. This is a literary form rather than history, in order to emphasize that both John and Jesus are part of God's plan of salvation. • Both John and Jesus have special ministries as adults, and the two announcement stories prepare the reader for these ministries. They are theological introductions. Hope for the End of oppression • Apocalyptic movements, were born out of despair about the present world and the course of history leading up to it; and yet, there was the hope that the Creator of the world would carry out the plan for creation in the history of his people. • Political, economic, social, and religious powerlessness under the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans gave rise to alienation, and this in turn evoked a hope for the reversal of the present order and the reestablishment of a paradisical world, or at least a return to the golden age of King David. • An expectation that God’s Kingdom would soon begin Luke’s apocalyptic view of history. • Historical figures – Ceasar, Herod, Quirinius • The Angel Gabriel is used only in chapter 1 of Luke and in the Book of Daniel. • Gabriel links these two books and so if we want to understand what Luke is doing in the Infancy Narratives, we need to look back to the book of Daniel which was written approximately 150 years before Luke’s Gospel. (Daniel 9:20 – 27). • While I was speaking and praying the angel Gabriel came to me at the time of the evening sacrifice... • Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring everlasting righteousness so seal both vision and prophet and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel 9:20 – 27). • There shall be seven weeks from the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of the anointed one, a prince. Then sixty two weeks in a troubled time. • And after 62 weeks an anointed one [christos] shall be cut off and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with war and desolation and for half a week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator Book of Daniel • The book of Daniel, and its symbols, looks back to the time when the Temple was rebuilt after the Exile and then to the many years of struggle under foreign powers. Daniel offers hope to the people experiencing oppression by the Greek rulers. Luke finds in this book symbols and images that he can use to interpret what has happened in his own life-time with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Romans. Similarities Daniel Luke • the restoring and Herod’s building building of Jerusalem, program restoring the • the coming of the Temple. anointed one Jesus called the anointed one Christos). • the city and its Destruction of sanctuary will be Jerusalem by Rome destroyed (70 CE.) • The book of Daniel provides Luke with a way of interpreting Jesus’ death and the destruction of Jerusalem. • The Scriptures of Israel have said that the anointed one will be ‘cut off’ and then Jerusalem will be destroyed. • The Jewish and Christian community therefore should not be surprised by these events, they were spoken of in the O.T. The beginning of a new age. • Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth expresses an apocalyptic vision of history - that with the birth of Jesus the end of the old era has come and the birth of Jesus offers the start of a new period in salvation time. When Mary and Joseph come to the Temple for the purification ritual Simeon announces that the O.T. time of waiting is over: The beginning of a new age. • Simeon speaks on behalf of Israel and prays, • “Now Lord you can dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all people, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel” (2:29-32). A Comparison of Daniel & Luke • Dan 9:20-21 While praying Gabriel • Zechariah is serving as priest in came at the time of the evening the Temple offering the evening sacrifice. sacrifice. • 10:12 Your words have been heard • 1:13 Your prayer has been heard • 8:16, 9:21 Gabriel • 1:19 & 26 Gabriel, • 7:16 I approached one who stood • 1:19 I stand in the presence of in the presence of God God • 10:11 I have been sent to you • 1:19 I was sent to speak to you • 8:17 When he came I was • 1:12 Zechariah was troubled frightened • 10:12 Then he said to me, Fear not • 1:13 The angel said, Fear not Daniel Zechariah A Comparison of Daniel & Luke • 10:15 I turned my face to • 1:20 Behold you will be the ground and was silent and unable to dumb. speak • 9:23 You are greatly • 1:28 Hail highly favoured beloved one • 10:11 0 Daniel man greatly beloved • 1:64 And immediately his • 10:16 Then I opened my mouth was opened his mouth and spoke. tongue loosed and he spoke • 7:28 But I kept all these • 2:19 But Mary kept all things in my mind.(literally these things pondering in my heart - en kardia) them in her heart (en te kardia) The Shepherds • In Matthew wise men from the East hear the news • In Luke it is the shepherds who are the first to hear the news. • Both come to Bethlehem to offer praise, then both return. Luke’s theology • Roman age of • “There is born in the Augustus city of David a • Hailed as “saviour of Saviour who is Christ the world” and Lord.” (Lk 2:11) • An altar built in Rome • “On earth Peace to celebrating “Pacis those favoured by Augustae” God” (Luke 2:14 • Inscription at Prireme about Augustus – • The birthday of the • “I announce to you god marked the the good news of a beginning of the good great joy, which will news for the world.” be for the whole people. (Luke 2:10) The manger • Isa 1:3 “The ox knows its owner and the donkey knows the manger of its master; but Israel has not known me, and my people have not understood me.” In the infancy – Faithful Israel does recognise Jesus (Elisabeth, Simeon, Shepherds – the poor, lowly, barren). Later the rulers will fulfill Isaiah’s words.
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